Uncharted: Drake's Fortune Sequel Feature - 15/01/2008

This will hopefully be a regular feature here at TGSN for the coming months, years, ages, however long down the line, and it's all about how a developer, presuming that there will be a second game in the series, can improve a given game for the next instalment. First up as you might have guessed from the title is Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune has the lot - the characters, the story, the visuals, the gameplay, everything is top notch. So how can Naughty Dog improve what was a contender for the game of last year? Well, first off, they need to include a co-op mode. There is no doubt about it, with having Sully and/or Elena around for most of the missions, it's certainly possible. The levels would have to be built from the 'ground' (we'll get to that later) up to work when played in co-op mode, and when in single player. While Sully and especially Elena do pose a threat to the enemy and can pick off quite a few pirates, no artificial intelligence can match the experience a human player could give to the game.

Of course, the difficulty may have to be ramped up a tad, or maybe whenever there are two players entering a level, the difficulty is automatically raised. This way, the player can do just as fine on his own and still have fun when a friend comes over without having to hand your precious SIXAXIS controller and watch fatty over there play. Speaking of difficulty, there has to be a brilliant lobby system if Naughty Dog are going to have a crack at online co-op. There has - emphasize has - to be an option to invite your friends from the PlayStation Network, or it probably won't work as well as it should. Playing with a stranger is all well and good, but playing with a mate, who can talk to you over the headset, is unbeatable.

2 on 1 clearly isn't fair. Come on Naughty Dog, even the odds!

Thus we come to the temptation that is online multiplayer. No. A thousand times no. Uncharted is a game that was made for an exceedingly good story mode, there is no need at all for Naughty Dog to try out an online component when games like Call of Duty and Halo are already the games to buy if you want a multiplayer title. Why should they have to try and widen their audience when many games will have better online multiplayer anyway? Lets leave it at that, Uncharted needs no online multiplayer component bar co-op and leaderboards.

Yes, leaderboards. I believe that more and more people want to show off their skills on leaderboards on games such as Call of Duty, and even Lair. Lair isn't a particularly good game but it does have a leaderboard system that works fine and has a lot of people competing on it. After completing the game, you should unlock another mode called 'Arcade Mode' similar to the mode of the same name in Call of Duty 4, where every time you nail an enemy in the head you get, say, 100 points. Leg? 20 points. Hand? 5 points. Goolies? 1000 points. The last one may have been a bit of an understatement, 1000 points isn't anywhere near enough, but I couldn't go waving it around now could I? Anyway, back to Uncharted, yes. In this mode you get points depending on which body part you hit, how many bullets it takes you to kill an enemy, how quickly you complete the level, with points deducted for every bullet you take, and every time you die. It would add nearly endless replayability, especially if you're really good at knowing where people's crown jewels are.

Precision over power please Nate, that's where the points are...

The setting in Uncharted was brilliant because it suited the mood and the art direction of the game, as this version has done, the next needs to set itself apart from others of a similar genre. So, when was the last time you played an action adventure game set in the arctic? Yes, Lost Planet, but that was too far ago (and not stellar enough) to remember, and even when it finally makes its way to the PS3 it will just be old news. Uncharted is the future. Naughty Dog absolutely nailed water in Drake's Fortune, so I can't see why they couldn't 'do' snow. A move to the arctic would be a great idea for Naughty Dog because it lets them stick a hell of a lot of water in and around the environment, while still making it a completely different visual and physical experience. Hiding behind ice is an okay idea for a few shots, but ice breaks, leaving you to keep moving from cover to cover. Snow is the future, no matter how many times Al Gore says the ice caps are melting!

In terms of storyline I'm kind of lost, if they went with the icy setting then they would have to make up a whole new treasure, but I'm thinking that Elena and Nate are engaged and she is on her way to what could be her 'big break'. She has got a job at a worldwide news channel and has been sent to the arctic, bringing Nathan with her, to dig up some news. They run, or rather squelch, into some trouble. Naturally, only Elena and Nathan survive, and decide to 'get those bastards!'

Uncharted in the Arctic? Nate versus Polar Bears? Sounds good to us!

Along with all that, the story mode needs to be at least 5 or 6 levels longer and there needs to be more platforming levels where your main aim is to traverse rather than to kill dudes.

- Tyler Roberts


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